FILM: GONE GIRL
CAST: BEN AFFLECK, ROSAMUND PIKE, NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, TYLER PERRY, CARRIE COON, KIM DICKENS, PATRICK FUGIT, EMILY RATAJKOWSKI, MISSI PYLE, CASEY WILSON, DAVID CLENNON, BOYD HOLBROOK, LOLA KIRKE, LISA BANES
Directors: DAVID FINCHER
From the tour de force thriller that became a bestselling must-read comes David Fincher’s screen version of ‘Gone Girl’, a wild ride through our modern media culture and down into the deep, dark fault lines of an American marriage – in all its unreliable promises, inescapable deceits and pitch-black comedy.
The couple at the centre of the story – former New York writer Nick Dunne and his formerly “cool girl” wife Amy, now trying to make ends meet in the mid-recession Midwest – have all the sinuous outer contours of contemporary marital bliss. But on the occasion of their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy goes missing — and those contours crack into a maze of fissures. Nick becomes the prime suspect, shrouded in a fog of suspicious behaviour. Amy becomes the vaunted object of a media frenzy as the search for her, dead or alive, plays out before the eyes of a world thirsting for revelations.
Just as Nick and Amy personified the quintessential romantic match, Amy’s disappearance has all the markings of an emblematic domestic American crime.
But her vanishing becomes a kind of hall of mirrors in which tantalizing and savage secrets lead to tantalizing and savage secrets.
The events that unfold are thick with shocks and complications, but the questions that remain are what cut, with razor-sharp precision, to the bone: Who is Nick? Who is Amy? Who are any of us in marriages — and a society — built on a precarious base of projected images and disguises?
Upon its 2012 publication, Flynn’s novel became that rare entity: a massively popular, nail-biting summer bestseller that was also the talk of the literary world.
The book was lauded not only for relentless suspense, but also for its narrative ingenuity and willingness to plumb the murkiest depths of human behaviour, grappling with the jagged lines between marriage and possession, public and private life, the lure of artifice and the glare of truth.
Even in the crime fiction genre it stood out for its fusing of two unreliable, duelling narrators – the two halves of a torn marriage – who manipulate each other, tangling the reader in their webs of deceit.
The novel was a visceral, cinematic experience, but filled with pitfalls for a screen adaptation. So strong were the voices in the book it seemed unlikely anyone could ever adapt it as well as its author. Fortunately, Flynn was up for taking on the daunting task and produced a screenplay that boiled the essence of her deftly plotted, but deeply interior novel down into a skin-tight structure.
Then a synergy occurred between Flynn and director David Fincher. The pairing of Flynn’s merciless insights with Fincher’s atmospheric storytelling made a potent mix with the drippingly dark humour of the story – and its skew on marriage, celebrity and the way we mould and remould our life stories.
“It was as if David interpreted what Gillian wrote and then that interpretation was put back through Gillian again on the page,” says star Ben Affleck. “And during that process there was even more wit added, there was more sardonic stuff, and there were so many salient observations. It really fits into David’s work and has that distinctive combination of being at once funny and enlivening.”